From royalty to clergy, safe rooms and secret passages have been essential for guarding secrets and escaping death throughout history. On the darker side, they have also been used during wars, for smuggling and to commit some of the most dreadful crimes imaginable.
For thousands of years we have been finding more and more ingenious ways to hide ourselves and the things that are precious to us. Some hiding places were so well concealed that some old buildings are only just giving up their secrets – and only as a result of restoration or demolition work.
But don’t mistake what we mean by “safe room” and what FEMA, for example, means by a “safe room”. FEMA Safe Rooms are actually according to codes and regulations. The structure must be designed and constructed to the guidelines specified in FEMA P-320, so that it will provide “near-absolute protection” in extreme weather events, including tornadoes and hurricanes. You may want to go to FEMA Safe Room link just to see what they have in mind.
But bear in mind, that the agents of FEMA may end up becoming those we will be hiding from!
A safe room, panic room, hideout, or whatever you prefer to call it, can be hidden away behind a door that doubles as a bookshelf, in a basement hidden under the floorboards, or even behind the bedroom closet. The room is not intended to withstand a thorough search, but more to act as a last line of defense in case of a home invasion, no matter if it be from burglars or stormtroopers.
Your “fortress” should contain everything one might need for a few hours stay during a home invasion, including a direct alarm to the police, a cell phone with a guaranteed signal attachment and lots and lots of guns.
Most A-list celebrities and entertainment executives have had safe rooms for quite some time, but with apparent troubled times approaching, more and more regular folks are including not only safe rooms, but luxury fortresses to their houses.
Hiding places can include small spaces concealing a niche or safe, to crafty storage areas, or even passages and whole rooms. These days many new high-end homes are designed with safe “cores,” in which an entire section or even the floor where the occupants sleep is cut off from the rest of the residence. With a safe core, if someone wants to get in, they can get into the house, but they can’t get near you.
Some Los Angeles safe rooms border on excessive, including the Sultan of Brunei’s plans for a 100,000-square-foot underground hideout. But designers say they are becoming more affordable.
Though a safe core put in a home will set you back around $15,000, alarms and surveillance equipment have gone down in price in recent years, so that any do-it-yourselfer could build an effective safe room for under $1,000 (not including the guns).
If you are determined to survive any eventuality, no matter if it be a Zombie Apocalypse or an army of fascist stormtroopers, there are companies in the US that specialize in building secret places; locally, a quality craftsman may be the better way to go.
The safe room is meant only for a short-term threat. For the long-haul, however, you should consider a retreat as far away from civilization as possible, for when the SHTF, even a safe room won’t save you!
If you’re taking survival seriously, rather than just a safe room, I suggest something a little more hard-core: For example, you can build a fortress inside your home that would enable you to survive the first wave of any assault! I recommend you read, “The Secure Home” and/or “The High Security Shelter – How to Implement a Multi-Purpose Safe Room in the Home“.